Russian punkgroup Choix is a young punk group(young if you compare to me) and Melkiy have answered some questions from me…november 2014
Please tell me a little bit history of the group?
-We started to play in august 2007. It was five of us and before that we only had an experience of some shitty bands. I did not have any experience at all. Actually, we were not that close that time. Two of us meet each other first time on our initial practice. It seemed to be some kind of fun and was nothing serious. We didn’t have any goals or expectations, but after certain period of time it turned out to be a serious thing. Some great musicians from well-known Russian bands such as Unkind Revolt, Mutagen and What we feel were part of the Choix. Our current drummer is also playing in the band called One Way Street.
Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone?
-As I told previously Choix is a five man act. My name is Melkiy, I’m 27 and while not screaming in a band I work as a glassblower.
Spirin plays guitar, he is 31 or 32, he forgot his age and we did as well. We call him an old men. He is molecular biologist, phd, married…
Fitil, 26 years old is a crazy second guitar holder. He is deputy head of warehouse if I’m not mistaken anything.
Homiak plays bass, he is 26 and he is engineer in a secret government factory. Just kidding, he is not.
Lays is our drummer, He is only 20 so we call him youngish and he works at car wash.
I would not write about any interests in particular because I am not sure about each personal desires. I could only say that we love punk rock, booze, fight and we are damn nice assholes.
-I was thinking about band name for a long time. I decided that “choice” that is the name I would like to have. I was trying to find the best spelling and pronunciation in different languages. I have tried Czech, polish, Serbian and Russian of course. After all, I have discovered French version. (Actually I have lived in France could of years while being a small kid, so maybe I have found it in my memories). Choix is “choice” in French. It sounds nice. I have offered it to other band members and we decided to name ourselves like that.
Your influences are a little bit different punk, both hardcore and streetpunk? Am I right??
-Oi!, old school hardcore and streetpunk are the things we like the most. Nevertheless I would say we are influenced by wider music genre. We try to add some rock’n’roll and ska beat. We try to play what we like without putting ourselves in borders of certain style of music. Also i hope someday we have more recorded songs than now and you will hear the whole complexity of our music^)
What?s the best thing with playing live?
-Concerts are perfect. First you hang out with your friends before show, you drink beer and chat and after some time you already sing along with them. You do it on the stage or in the crowd. It is pure emotion and adrenalin. I don’t think while playing show, I just feel the emotion. It could be aggression or pure friendship, booze fun, some serious stuff. I sing about it and I feel it. What could be better?
And where is best to play?
-Unfortunately, not all of us have international passports. Therefore, we are not allowed to travel abroad, simply because we cannot apply for the foreign visas. From what we’ve seen I would say Moscow is always perfect and we had some great shows in Kaliningrad, Vologda, Kazan' and Izhevsk. Cheers to all you guys.
How is it to play this sort of music in Russia? Is the scene big?
-I would say, we started to play when the scene started to grow, Previously the shows were secret because of police brutality and nazi threat. It was dangerous to play and go to the punk rock shows. Right before our first show group of crazy asshole Nazis killed young kid.
It is still rather dangerous to be an antiracist in Russia. But now we have some shows and they are open to everybody. Bands Stage Bottles, The Oppressed are playing in Moscow. Fingers crossed for Los Fastidios gig next spring. Five and ten years ago it was practically unreal.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Angry, fast and wasted!
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-Punk is not a life style. It is life itself. Punk created my identity and personality. Because of it, I have my own look, I work the job I respect and I have people with whom I communicate. More or less everything in my life is related to punk.
How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?
-Positive! Because of internet, we have a possibility to share music and information worldwide. We could find out so many interesting bands. Sharing CDs, and vinyl would not have such an impact. On the other hand, I am truly supporting bands I like. I buy merch, zines, and music. It is important. While supporting the bands you also have some piece and memory of it, even small stuff.
How is it to live in Russia now? Politically?
-As usual – shitty. It was like that before and it will be the same in future. It is hard to find good job with tattoos or piercing. Many of my friends work just in order to pay rent. That sucks.
Politically it is all the same as previously. I mean shitty. However, i would say we don’t have tanks on the street and we live in peace. Sometimes media lies that much that people start to hate certain counties or population without any reasons… It is happening more and more often when punk bands come to Russia and their fans abroad ask them on facebook: “why do you guys go to this nazi state?” Seriously, wtf?
Is there any good bands from Russia now? How is it in your hometown?
-It was always important for me to hang out and play with good guys, people who share the same ideas and standards I do. I am grateful to have such people in my life and I would certainly like to recommend such bands from Moscow as Bystreet, The Zapoy!, The Poseurs, Changes, 210, What we feel, Mutagen, One way street, Ноги винни-пуха, Distemper, Zuname. Always happy to see and host the bands from other cities in Russia: Truckdrivers, One big pack, Dice, Citramons, Distress, Next Round, The Riot gang, etc etc…There are many talented kids out there
What do you know about Sweden?
-Stereotypes haha. I know that you people have high living standard that even criminals in prisons live better than our normal citizens do. In addition, you gave birth to best metal bands! Aren’t you guys all Vikings with hairy beards? Sorry, those might be Norwegians… My Apology!
Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?
-I have this website www.kidsofthestreets.ru where I upload a lot of music. So if anybody ask me to rec. some bands from Sweden I will say: Perkele, The Negatives, Sabotage, Antipati, Oldfashioned ideas, City saints, Vindicate this!, Prins Carl, Saturday's heroes, Targetpoint, Guttersnipe and many many other. Indeed you have a lot of great music!
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?
-Me and our guitar player Spirin write all the lyrics. He helps me and I help him. The environment we live influences all the lyrics. It is our reflection to what we like (like drinking beer and having friends) and what we do not (politics, war). We do not have just random lyrics so every song has a story behind it.
Is there any subject that you never will write anything about?
-I doubt it. I am not have any shame of my own opinion. Of course there are some things I would not even tak but I don’t censor myself and I never did.
Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand?
-I am not interested in politics at all. No hand in hand of politics with anything!
Best political band/artist?
-Do not like and do not know any political bands I would recommend. I am cautious about politics and everything related to it. Do not like this stuff and never heard anything good…
Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life, I mean people who listens to music?
-I do not think so. I know it! Music changed my life, so it could change somebody else life. Some songs could be an inspiration. Some could help find your own way. And some songs are just a good background for a party or good old fight. Listen to music!
You sound angry sometimes,are you that? I think that former eastern punk bands have more right to be angry than us western punks? What do you think about that?
-Don’t know what to say. You put at a stand! Eastern people are the same as western. But our society is not that developed and wealthy. We have lower living standards or access to some common stuff. Red tape, corruption, mandatory army, low salaries and pensions, high bills …. Would you be angry? We are all on our own against the outside world. Some people survive instead of living.
We are not wealthy; we do not have “social connections”. So hell yeah we are angry haha!
Are you releasing your records yourself without a label? When does your next record arrive?
-Our first tape was DIY. Our second record was supported by our good friends from Moscow label, But they only helped with CDs printing. Right now, we practice every week, we don’t play any local shows just because we want to have all fresh and new stuff to present and release. We plan a new record early 2015. Or maybe before fall^) I hope so!
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?
-We are truly the disaster band! I broke my hand couple of times, our guitar player is injuring his head every show. It’s ok. The diver could piss himself while being on tour. The box of merch will be out of van while driving full speed. Last thing I remember I was singing Agnostic Front cover song with Duffman - mascot form the German band called Gumbles. I was drunk as fuck, so was Duffman. "From the Berlin to the Moscoooooow gotta gotta gotta go!" and I fell down from the stage and he lay on to the drum set. Shame on me!
How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts?
-Punks, skinheads, hc kids. We don't miss anyone, all is fine!
Please rank your five favoriterecords, five favoriteconcerts and five most important things in life?
-It would be hard. Your impression and memories is constantly changing. Anyways there is some stuff I will remember for ages:
The Skoidats - The Times (1997), Bora - Battery cage (2001), Discipline - Rejects of society (2003), Mister X - Punx & Skins Unite & Win (Demo EP) (2005), Soultamer - The Remedy Comes in Disguise (2007)
There is not so many shows we have here in Russia.
Los Fastidios in 2007 in Petrozavodsk, 2007 – Bad Manners in Moscow, live gigs of The Oppressed и The Last Resort and last birthday show of Distemper
Family, Friends, Punk Rock, Pride without Prejudice and Sense of Humor!
Is it boring with interviews? Which is the most stupid question you ever have got??
-I have not done so many interviews so far so I do not know how to compare. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes interesting and unexpected. Do not like questions about politics. In addition, I am confused about my personal interests. Who cares if I like swimming more than skiing..
First last and most expensive record bought?
-First record I have bought in the city of Chernogolovka (60km from Moscow) in the middle of 1990th. Guess it was the cassette of Naiv, Tarakany! or Purgen – most famous punk bands of that time. Did not know any other that time:(
Last record was a present from German dudes from Small Town Riot. They are the best. They played in Moscow. In addition, we were partying back in my place all night long. They were even drinking some vodka with my mom. No joke.
Futureplans for the band?
-We are preparing for some touring in Russia in Petrozavodsk, Arkhangelsk, Vologda and Kaliningrad. New record is another big landmark. Really, look forward to play with Los Fastidios (I never thought that I will play with them, even 7 years ago when they had a first tour in Russia). My true dream is to tour in Europe someday: go to Germany, Czech, France… and maybe Sweden?)
-Actually I’ve just applied for international passport the one you need to travel abroad. Fingers crossed.
-Please drink beer, have fun, don’t do shit, don’t be racists. THX
Something to add?
-Thx for the interest and good luck